Ship may sail to Gaza without permission

2011-07-01 10:01

Athens - A US ship declared it may set sail from a Greek port for Gaza without permission and an Irish ship has dropped out of the pro-Palestinian flotilla planning to break Israel's blockade of Gaza, citing sabotage, activists said.

Up to 400 international activists had been due to sail this week to Gaza aboard 10 ships leaving from Greece to protest the naval blockade that Israel imposed on the Palestinian territory after Hamas militants overran it in 2007.

An Israeli raid on a similar flotilla last year killed nine activists on a Turkish ship and each side blamed the other for the violence.

On Thursday, American activist Ann Wright said Greek authorities were bowing to Israeli pressure and deliberately stalling the departure of 53 passengers and crew - including 11 journalists - aboard a ship named the Audacity of Hope from a port near Athens.

"We're fed up with it already, we've already waited seven days. We were ready to go a week ago," Wright said.

She wouldn't say how long activists would wait for the all-clear before the 33m ferry begins its journey. But she said the Greek coast guard would "probably" stop the boat shortly after departing.

Netanyahu thanks world leaders

Audacity of Hope passenger Alice Walker, author of the acclaimed novel The Color Purple, on Thursday read to journalists letters and cards that American children are sending to Gaza residents via the ship.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the flotilla on Thursday evening at a graduation ceremony for new pilots in central Israel, praising the action of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

"Sometimes we are required not only to repel physical attacks by our enemies but also repel the attacks against our right to defend ourselves. In that regard, I want to thank the many world leaders who spoke out and acted lately against the flotilla provocation," he said.

"Israel has the full right to act against attempts to legitimise the smuggling of missiles, rockets and other weapons to the terror enclave of Hamas," he added.

The UN's top human rights official on Thursday welcomed the Israeli government's decision to drop its threat to issue deportation orders against journalists on the flotilla.

"I'm always taking the view that the blockade of Gaza is illegal and must be lifted, since it results in a disproportionate use of force against civilians," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told reporters in Geneva.

Israeli agents fingered

The Irish ship MV Saoirse on Thursday had to abandon plans to set sail because of what it called Israeli sabotage. Activist Huwaida Arraf told Israel's Army Radio that the ship's engine was damaged while in port and could have lead to deaths on board.

"When the engine was started, it completely bent," Arraf said. "While out at sea, if this would have happened, if it would have bent in this way, the boat would have started taking on water and it could have led to fatalities."

The alleged sabotage occurred at the Turkish coastal town of Gocek where the MV Saoirse has been berthed for the past few weeks, organisers said.

Earlier this week, activists said Israeli agents damaged the propeller of a Swedish ship in the Greek port.

Israel has refused AP requests for comment on the allegations.

US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner - asked to comment on Thursday on the alleged sabotage - said there was no proof it had taken place due to a lack of "independent confirmation".

Toner, speaking to reporters in Washington, said State Department opinion is "the flotillas are a bad idea", and there're other ways to get this kind of assistance to Gaza.

"Our bottom line is, we don't want to see anyone put at risk. And that would include any action to sabotage these boats but also the boats themselves - the flotillas themselves - will put these individuals at risk."


- AP

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  alice walker  |  israel  |  us  |  gaza  |  gaza ship raid
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
22 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Numsa prepares for life after Cosatu

Numsa has not only reiterated its call for President Jacob Zuma to resign but it is also preparing for life outside of Cosatu, a report states.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.